Digital Technologies are the Key to Your Home
The ubiquitous door key has served us well for centuries, but there are some who believe it’s looking distinctly passé and that a raft of innovations could eventually make it redundant. Pockets, wallets and purses may soon be getting lighter as these shaped pieces of metal disappear, to be replaced by a technology that merges smartphone innovations with traditional door locks.
Advances in the digital lock space are already familiar to many of us who open our car doors remotely with a key fob, or wave a card over an electronic pad to get into the office.
Now these enhancements are moving into the home. From a user’s perspective the technology is simplicity itself. A smartphone app can send signals through the Internet to a converter box by a door knob or deadbolt. Then all you have to door is touch the lock and the door opens.
As most people possess a cell phone and have it with them 24/7, a large number of firms are entering the digital lock space to develop concepts and products. Among the most prominent companies are Lockitron and UniKey.
In addition to the convenience of not having to fumble in your pockets for keys, there are a number of fascinating features. If you have visitors staying with you, they can be sent a text message that contains the key to your house. It can be revoked at any time and you can also place limits on how many virtual keys are issued. Cleaners, gardeners and service personnel you may employ can be sent keys that are only valid for specific hours.
However, it’s not quite game over for keys as these systems provide a physical key just in case of problems.
Digital lock innovations are particularly useful for people who rent out their homes through services such as Airbnb. They can save them the hassle of having to make lots of physical copies of keys and arranging to leave them with guests.
However, as fabulous as all this sounds there are some drawbacks. The key is likely to be around for some time yet. First of all, digital locks can actually be quite cumbersome to use. There are buttons to be pushed to connect to the service, and problems if batteries drain and cell phones lose power. Then there is the cost of installing the converter box. This may be prohibitive to some consumers who nonetheless want the convenience of a digital lock.
Three Cheers for Keycafe
Here in Gastown, Vancouver, Keycafe provides all the benefits of digital locks, but with none of the expense or fuss. There are zero upfront costs, no machinery to install, and our technology is compatible with existing keys.
If you are renting out your place you just simply attach your keys to our nifty NFC-enabled key chain and drop them off to a participating café. Then you pop online for a minute to give visitors permission to pick up the keys. When they do you’ll receive an update by SMS. It’s a cost-effective and advantageous marriage of digital and traditional.